What is a 4 Season Tent?

When researching what tent you need for your camping holiday, you’ll find terms such as 2 season, 3 season and 4 season tents. Whilst some differences between these tents seem minimal, the seasons they’re made for can determine the quality of the tent and what activities or environments it’s suited to. 

4 season tents are made to withstand the temperature and climate associated with all four seasons during the year. 

Why Buy a 4 Season Tent?

Four season tents are made to withstand more weather conditions than standard tents which normally are only made for two or three seasons. Four season tents are ideal for long camping trips, or if you go on trips frequently throughout the year. Four season tents are popular amongst campers who take skiing, snowboarding, or mountain climbing holidays as they are fit for the weather. Particularly with those who go on climbing holidays, as four season tents are typically cheaper than mountaineering tents. 

Differences Between a 4 Season Tent and a 3 Season Tent

Three season tents, as opposed to four season tents, don’t usually accommodate winter camping. This includes the added protection and insulation against snow and heavy downpour, along with potential high winds. 

Aesthetically, there are little to no differences between three and four season tents, but structurally they are likely to be built of different materials and are erected differently from each other. 

For example, a four season tent is usually made up of stronger poles and is also supported by external poles which are situated outside of the tent. These poles keep the structure secure in high winds.  Four season tents also usually lack flat surfaces in which snow can pile up on, thus making them more suited to camping in the snow. 

What Features does a 4 Season Tent Have?

Along with the aforementioned differences, four season tents also have several other features which separate them from other types of tent. One such instance is that of the vestibules that four season tents typically have, which provide a small area of shelter before entering the tent. These vestibules have multiple benefits, such as being able to keep items outside of the tent but in cover, and also as a means to take any wet or damp clothing off before entering the tent, thus decreasing the amount of condensation within the tent. 

Condensation within the tent can lead to an uncomfortable sleep, or can give the false impression that the tent isn’t waterproof.

Additionally, some four season tent models include large snow flaps, made to prevent snow or harsh wind from damaging the structure of the tent. These snow flaps work similarly to rain flys, despite being larger and offering some additional insulation and protection. 

Along with this, most four season tents are made out of a bright colored material, in order to be easily located during snowstorms. Some people can be picky about the color of their tents, especially as they can affect the humidity inside. 

Finally, four season tents have a tendency to be heavier and harder to carry as opposed to three season tents, due to the material and added bulk needed for insulation once erected. Whilst the difference in weight may be only slight, it can become much more noticeable when carrying a tent for extended periods. Due to the structure of four season tents, it’s also more likely that they’ll take longer to put up, as they often require multiple poles for both exterior and interior support. This can make setting up difficult and cumbersome, especially if you’ve trekked a long way to the campsite. 

Things to Consider when Buying a 4 Season Tent

Four season tents are usually more expensive than those which aren’t as resistant to different environments, due to the materials they are made of. As a result, most campers opt for three season tents, as they’d be unlikely to encounter harsher weather conditions unless they actively sought them out. If you’re considering investing in a four season tent but have no plans to camp in the snow, there are ways to adjust three season tents to enable you to camp in unforgiving weather. It is possible to insulate your tent, enabling you to stay warm while camping, and there are other ways to keep yourself dry if it’s particularly wet and rainy.

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